Choosing a Cabinet Store


There are many types of kitchen and bath stores which can be confusing for those starting their renovation journey. Here we explain the differences to help you find the best solution for your upcoming renovation, as each type satisfies a different client and offers a unique customer experience. Choosing a cabinet store and a preferable buying experience should be your first step in your cabinet renovation project preparation.

BIG BOX STORE:  Traditionally the big box stores or home building centres carry in-stock cabinets, as well as offer one or several lines of cabinetry that can be custom ordered. Depending on the size of the store, they will sometimes have small displays and sometimes even onsite kitchen designers that can help you craft a design. Smaller big box stores often do not have displays or onsite cabinet designers, but might have sample doors or sample wood chips for you to look at. Essentially they act as the liaison between you and the actual manufacturer and work via email and telephone with their representative and the purchase is done through the big box store.

Advantages:  There are several advantages of dealing with a big box store for your cabinets, which include geographical proximity benefits (especially in rural areas), availability of credit terms, and convenience because you can purchase more than just your kitchen cabinets from them.

The other major advantage is that you can sometimes purchase Ready To Assemble [RTA] cabinets. This allows you to assemble/build each cabinet, perfect for the DIY homeowner.

AUTHORIZED DEALER:  This is probably the most common type of cabinet store. A dealer is simply a kitchen and bath reseller. They typically have several unique lines of semi-custom and custom cabinetry that are manufactured by other companies. They almost always have a showroom with displays, as well as kitchen designers on staff to help you with a design or layout.

Advantages:  Given that they often represent several lines of cabinetry, they can cover many styles and price point options. Often they will have good, better and best brands/cabinet lines to fulfill almost any client need. Some authorized dealers also offer full renovation/remodel services for those not wanting to hire a separate contractor, which can be really convenient if you require someone to manage your entire project. For example, Superior Cabinets has over 125 Authorized Dealer Partners in Canada and the USA.

DESIGN-BUILD FIRM:  This is where the cabinet designer and manufacturer of the cabinets are the same company. Here there is a direct link to the manufacturing shop and cabinet installer with no middleman.  Essentially you are buying semi-custom and custom cabinets direct from the manufacturer and your designer acts as your project manager for the products and services they provide (typically the design, supply, delivery and installation of cabinets and countertop). They always have a showroom with displays, as well as professional kitchen designers on staff to help you come up with the perfect plan. Superior Cabinets has professional kitchen designers in Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton.

ADVANTAGES:  This is the perfect option for those that want to go to the source without having to deal with a dealer or reseller in between. You also have the ability to go quite deep with your design, as they know their manufacturing capability because this is all they do. A design-build firm can sometimes also be a bit more nimble in dealing with post-installation service/job completion parts installation because they are the manufacturer.

The major advantage with a Design-Build firm is that you will most likely be purchasing pre-built or pre-manufactured cabinets. The advantage is that you don’t have to invest precious time and energy in building each cabinet. Pre-made cabinets often come dowelled, glued, screwed, and pressure set, resulting in a very stable and sturdy box, which will last many years.


No matter what option you choose, ensure you are asking the questions that are important to you to find the best fit for your renovation/remodel project. Ensuring you have the right team members on your side will lead to a happy and fun renovation/remodel project.

BIG BOX STORE:  If you are someone who values doing business in your community and are a DIY client, you might only have one option, the local one, and there are many advantages of going local.

DEALER:  If you are someone who wants to work with a cabinet designer and qualify multiple cabinet brands in one design environment, a dealer might be your most advantageous choice.

DESIGN-BUILD FIRM:  If you are someone that appreciates dealing directly with a highly specialized and experienced kitchen designer, manufacturer/cabinet builder, and cabinet installer, then a design-build might be your best choice.

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Here are some additional helpful articles to check out:
Planning A Kitchen Renovation During A Pandemic
Common Corner Cabinet Types and Ideas
Bar Support Selection Guide
Butcher Block in the Kitchen, What you Should Know
Farmhouse Sink Considerations
Common Mudroom Design Oversights
New Paint Finishes on MDF for Summer 2022
New Wood Stains for Summer 2022 – Inspired by Nature
2022 Kitchen Cabinet Trends


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